The term “ground zero” as found in the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as the point directly above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs.
In short, it speaks of something which causes a radical change to the landscape.
In our twenty-first century understanding, it is a term which we often use in reference to the horrific events of September 11, 2001, as in the location of the World Trade Center collapses being referred to as Ground Zero.
The definition to which I defer is used to describe the very beginning.
Today is Easter Sunday.
I prefer to call it Resurrection Day as it tells the story which actually occurred as Scripture describes, “early on a Sunday morning, while it was still dark”.
For Christians, it is the very beginning.
This day caused a radical change to the landscape of the human heart, assuming one yields to its invitation.
This Resurrection Day is inherently more meaningful to any other we have celebrated to this point in our lives as we now have a better frame of reference.
Jackie and I had the awesome privilege to be in Israel for ten days this February on a mission trip with Global Celebration Ministries.
Places read about in Scripture and once left to our imaginations to navigate are now very real and personal to us.
Time does not permit me to give you a blow-by-blow description of our itinerary and the many places we visited. The outreaches we shared with the 2017 Holy Land Miracle Tour team, approximately ninety strong, were the focus of our time during our stay.
We ministered to both Israeli and Palestinian children, Palestinian widows and orphans, wounded and active Israeli military personnel, and to those we met who were out and about in the marketplaces.
The point of this post is to invite you to join us on our final day in the Land of Promise, with the words of Scripture and the power of images to guide the way.
After all, pictures are worth a thousand words.
We visited the spot traditionally believed to be Gethsemane, an olive grove where Jesus told His disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray“.
The trees in this olive grove, we were told, were two thousand years old.
If I can draw your attention to the picture above I’d like to ask you a question – do you see anything or anyone in the tree?
On what we call Good Friday, we are told that Pilate turned Jesus over to the leading priests to be crucified.
As they took Jesus away, He was made to carry the cross by Himself, as He went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha).
We started our final day in Israel by taking a tour of the Garden Tomb.
We were surrounded by lush plants and a serene garden, a place to reflect.
My hunch told me what my eyes were seeing was not what they would have witnessed had I been alive 2,000 years ago in the very same spot.
Our tour guide supplied us with an array of historical facts with respect to the soil we were standing upon and what transpired at the time.
Quite honestly, it was a lot to take in.
To stand in this place at that moment overshadowed whatever factual information could be conveyed or absorbed.
It was emotional and personal.
Once the tour guide concluded his presentation, we made our way across the garden to an isolated spot to participate in a Scripture teaching and a communion service focused on the importance of where we were.
We had the awesome opportunity to connect with a group from South Africa and we joined them in worship outside the tomb. Two groups of people, from many nations, joined together to focus our attention to the One we call Lord.
Prior to the communion service, we individually and collectively had the opportunity to witness first hand where Christ was laid to rest.
We are told in Scripture “the place of the crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.”
The burial plot was offered for use by Joseph of Arimathea, who was a secret follower of Jesus and was well off.
Many of us took the opportunity to stand outside the entrance to the tomb to reflect and to take pictures.
After doing so, we proceeded into the tomb itself to find it just as He indicated it would be – empty!
Personally, it will be a moment I treasure for the rest of my life. In many ways, it was surreal. Words cannot adequately describe the thoughts and emotions of the moment.
Although I realized it before as experienced in my life, being there lent itself to emphasize His promises are true and His word can be more than counted upon.
He declared Himself with power to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.
We saw a facsimile of the stone which was rolled away (reported to be much smaller in size and thickness than the actual stone) from the grave on the first Resurrection Day.
Our eyes bore witness to that which our hearts believed for many years without seeing.
We came to understand what the angel said to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they visited the tomb.
As the angel spoke to the women he said, “Don’t be afraid…I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here. He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen.” (Matthew 28: 5-6 NLT)
On the surface, it appeared when Christ died all hope was lost. In our human thinking, death equates to an end or finality.
Are there areas of your life where death has shown its ugly head and where hope seems to be lost?
I can tell you in my own life I have experienced a death of the soul in several forms over a period of time.
What Jesus did on the first Resurrection Day has always given me hope to continue my journey, despite what my eyes may be seeing or what my ears may be hearing.
At times it has been hard.
Now that I have had the opportunity to be placed in the actual setting of His resurrection, my belief is cemented.
We attend Life Center of Harrisburg and are now part of this body of believers since our move to the area in 2015.
During the first part of this year, one particular song has been sung many times by our worship team and is called Resurrecting by Elevation Worship.
A music video of the song is provided below. The words of the refrain have done a work on the inside for me. It has ignited a new found sense of purpose and passion in my life.
I invite you to allow the words and music to be a blessing to you this Resurrection Day.
Allow the message of Resurrection Day to take you back (or to invite you into) the place of the very beginning or your own personal, ultimate Ground Zero.
By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king Is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare your victory
The resurrected king Is resurrecting me
Photos Courtesy of Creative Commons, myself, and my new friends on the 2017 Holy Land Miracle Tour Team
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